McKenzie Goudreau

Kenzie pursues teaching at Iowa State

Kenzie realized at a young age she wanted to be a teacher. As a child, she made her unenthusiastic, younger cousins play school with her. She also loved writing “lessons” on her grandparents’ chalk board.

“Being a teacher is something I have always wanted,” Kenzie said. “My mom, two aunts, and two older cousins are all teachers in different fields. I guess you could say it runs in the family.”

She affirmed her childhood aspiration in high school.  During her senior year, Kenzie chose to participate in a half-day program allowing her to student teach kindergartners and fourth graders. After this experience, she applied to Iowa State to pursue her teaching dream.

When coming to college, Kenzie knew her career goals, but didn’t know which age group she wanted to teach. She started her practicum at Gilbert Middle School and quickly learned she wanted to instruct future middle school students.

“I love working with kids — especially middle-school-aged because they are finding their identity,” she said. “Teachers have the power to help them — and if I can do that while helping them learn, I want to do that.”

Kenzie felt her practicum experiences provided her with invaluable lessons ­— particularly working with experienced teachers, who she believes possess helpful tips and knowledge. She highly encourages education majors to listen to their practicum instructors’ advice.

“Watch and learn from veteran teachers,” she said. “They are very helpful and show you that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

In addition to learning through experienced educators, Kenzie also realized the power of students’ voices — which allows learners to lead the classroom conversation. She likes this method because she feels students are more likely to retain information if they can relate the lesson to their own life.

Despite loving teaching and her practicum experience, Kenzie admits it can be overwhelming at times. She firmly recommends others pursue it with an open mind.

“Lesson plans are flexible,” she said. “Have fun. Teaching can be stressful, but you can do so much more than you think. That’s teaching in a nutshell.”